December 9th was the birthday of American computer scientist Grace Hooper. Timed to coincide with this is Computer Science Education Week (often dubbed CSEd), an event established by the Computing in the Core Coalition. However, this year the event has received a bundle of additional sponsors, not the least of which is Google.
As detailed on the CSEd website, the objective of the week is to share information on teaching about computer science, especially as it is related to K-12 education. It also calls to educators, parents, and advocates, prompting them to push for changes in our current (failing) approach to computer science.
The site itself shares numerous details on the computer-related job industry, emphasizing the importance of the field. They state that in just six years, it’s estimated that nearly a million high-end computer-related jobs will be created — an outstandingly fast growth rate, even when compared with other expanding industries. The jobs that CSEd cites as most rapidly growing include work with computer engineering, a field that has seen growth largely thanks to web technologies (cloud computing solutions, search engines, etc.).
Nonetheless, CSEd reminds us that the degree of teaching for computer sciences provided in K-12 education is steadily decreasing. For example, in 2005 forty percent of all high schools offered at least one advanced computer science course. That percent has now dropped to just twenty-seven percent. Further, teacher endorsement and certification has yet to expand.
The events of Computer Science Education Week seek to increase awareness, interest, and advocacy. Events have included free introductory courses to programming designed for students aged thirteen to eighteen, prompting students in various ACM chapters to meet with middle and high school students to talk to them about computer science careers, and much more. CSEd continues to track related events throughout the year, which it displays on its events page.